Yesterday morning, Pythagoras went for a run.
I didn’t think much when a couple hours passed and he still hadn’t returned. Then three hours went by. Four. Five.
I finally called his cell.
“Where are you?” I asked, my mind whirling with visions of the hospital ER or the possibility he finally ran away to join the circus.
“The sporting goods store,” he said. “I decided I need new running shoes.”
“So you’re shopping?” I felt a distinct sense of dread.
“I should be home in 30 minutes if you want to do lunch.”
I actually laughed at that. “You do know shoe shopping involves decision-making, right? Could you at least try to be home for dinner?”
As I expected, it was another two hours before he rolled in, still without a new pair of shoes. This was also expected.
Pythagoras is quite possibly the most indecisive person on the planet. Everything must be carefully contemplated. Whether he’s buying bananas or bike parts, he can spend weeks researching prices and building flowcharts to analyze the pros and cons of each option.
I knew we were in for a long haul with the shoes.
This is one of many reasons he would hate being a writer. I consider myself a fairly decisive person, but there are days I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions to be made in a single manuscript. How old is my heroine? How does she feel about brussel sprouts? Do she and the hero knock boots in chapter eight, or do they wait until chapter sixteen? When they fight, does she talk to her grandmother or go home alone and get tipsy on Sangiovese?
I’ve stalled out a few times in recent weeks, hesitating with my fingers poised over the keyboard. Every decision I make means I’m closing one door and opening another. Committing to a new character or plot element means these are things I have to nurture for the next 90,000 words.
It’s nerve-wracking, but also a little exhilarating.
Unlike shoe shopping.
After dinner, we headed out for another round. An hour later, I was lying on the floor in the shoe aisle watching cat videos on my iPhone while Pythagoras ran laps around the lingerie department to test shock absorption.
Finally, we escaped. I spotted a Baskin Robbins on the way out and made a beeline for the ice cream counter.
“One dish of raspberry chip, please,” I told the girl with the scoop.
“Oh wow,” Pythagoras said behind me. “Thirty one flavors? How many can I sample?”
I left him there. He’s probably still mulling the difference between French vanilla and plain vanilla.
I might go back and get him tomorrow. We’ll see how writing goes.